I hadn’t realized when we began our drive to Saguaro and Canyon Lake near Mesa AZ that we’d be heading to the mountain lake my daughter Francesca told me about during her brief sojourn working in Phoenix when she was 19, but as we climbed into those arid mountains her words came back to me.
“Oh, Mama. You’d love it. The lake is tucked right into the mountains. You can’t imagine the view from the rocks. Oh I do wish you’d see it.” Her excitement had bubbled over the phone lines from Arizona to Minnesota.
My husband and I had chosen the perfect time to spend a few days in Phoenix. Everything was blooming, including the desert. I was stunned by the wonderful colors of the arid heights – the rocky cliffs striated in ocher and burnt orange, the sweeping expanses of blue and lavender, red and yellow flowers spreading above and below us.
Since Francesca’s death in 2001, I’ve carried that beautiful child with me in my heart to all the places we’d traveled since then. I'd so wanted her to see them. But here, as we topped Canyon Lake she was showing me.